Come Back to Camden lyric question

Discussion in 'General Discussion archive 2018 (read-only)' started by Old Mathew, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. Old Mathew

    Old Mathew Active Member

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    I've never understood this lyric:

    "The tile yard all along the railings
    Up a discolored dark brown staircase"

    I get the emotion of it, but what specifically is he on about? Is there some Britishism that I'm completely missing? What on earth is a "tile yard?"

    Was listening to this song tonight and thought I'd ask.
     
  2. Famous when dead

    Famous when dead Vulgarian Moderator

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    This is a nod to the vast areas of trade/commerce built around the canals and train yards in London / Camden. Brick works and tile factories were part of that busy, industrious zone. It helps reinforce the Victoriana of the song's imagery and he continues to play with colour to do so also.
    Regards,
    FWD.
     
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  3. Old Mathew

    Old Mathew Active Member

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    Thank you FWD. Very kind.
     
  4. Old Mathew

    Old Mathew Active Member

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    So what does "railings" mean? In my mind I always interpreted it as a staircase railing -- do Brits call rail lines "railings?"
     
  5. Famous when dead

    Famous when dead Vulgarian Moderator

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    Imho, he's alluding to the frontage of most industrialised areas - rows of metal fences/rails etc (staircase railings tend to be called banisters in the UK). He's painting a bleak Victorian picture of an industrial area to emphasise him being alone. The tiles, rails (fences), sky et al just help emphasise the discomfort being stressed in the lyrics.
    Obviously, the lyrics want the missing person to come back to that bleak imagery - which is a very Moz thing and a nice twist as it implies that if the heartache ended, perhaps the place wouldn't be so lacking in colour. It's early and I may not be putting this as well as I could :)
    Regards,
    FWD.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
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  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Railings is a word used to describe a type of metal fence (made out of vertical poles with gaps inbetween)
     
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  7. Old Mathew

    Old Mathew Active Member

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    All of this makes sense. I'd say that a staircase railing in the US is generally referred to as a banister as well. As I said, it never made sense to me, because I was trying to fit it (because of the staircase line) into an image of the narrator/Moz ascending a staircase... ie, I interpreted that verse as an extension of the previous one, about the object of affection not being there... I read it as ascending a staircase to a bedroom only to turn around and remember the lover isn't there, following him. In that sense, a tile yard made no sense. Now that I see that verse as more cohesive with the subsequent verses about "Victorian" London, I understand it.

    Which is a long of saying that -- as much as I think Morrissey is a universal artist -- sometimes those UK references get lost on the rest of us.

    In any case, it's late here. Thanks FWD and anonymous -- have a good day. :)
     
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